DECEMBER 29: Show-biz legends and Miss America’s rescuer

Deadly_FireABOVE: William Fielden and 1964 Miss America, Donna Axum.

THERE IS NO VIDEO of sixteen-year-old Milton Berle’s solo comedy debut, but there is a recording of thirteen-year-old Barbra Streisand’s singing on a record. The most dramatic teenage tale tied to December 29 occurred in 1963, when a nineteen-year-old student saved three people from a hotel fire — including the reigning Miss America.

DEC. 29, 1924: MILTON BERLE, sixteen, makes his solo debut at Loew’s State Theater in Times Square, performing a 12-minute comedy routine at the cinema’s vaudeville house. The showbiz legend would earn the nickname “Mr. Television” by starring on NBC’s “Texaco Star Theater from 1948 to 1954.

DEC. 29, 1955: BARBRA STREISAND, thirteen, makes her first-ever musical recording. The song is “You’ll Never Know,” and you can hear it at …

DEC. 29, 1963: WILLIAM FIELDEN, nineteen, rescues three people, including the reigning Miss America, Donna Axum, from a hotel fire in Jacksonville, Florida. Fielden breaks into Axum’s suite, pulling the beauty queen and two others from the blaze, which would claim 22 lives. Although this took place in 1963, Axum had already been crowned Miss America for 1964.

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